Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with blackcurrant seed oil


Leventhal LJ




Br J Rheumatol


The objective of this study was to assess the clinical efficacy and side effects of blackcurrant seed oil (BCSO), in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, 24-week trial in patients with RA and active synovitis. BCSO is rich in gammalinolenic acid (GLA) and alphalinolenic acid (ALA). Both GLA and eicosapentaenoic acid which derives from ALA suppress inflammation and joint tissue injury in animal models. Treatment with BCSO resulted in reduction in signs and symptoms of disease activity in patients with RA (P < 0.05). In contrast, patients given a placebo showed no change in disease. Overall clinical responses (significant change in four measures) were no better in the treatment group than in the placebo group. No patients withdrew from BCSO treatment because of adverse reactions. However, many patients withdrew because BCSO and its placebo had to be administered in 15 large capsules daily. Nonetheless, the study indicates that BCSO is a potentially effective treatment for active RA. However, means must be found to reduce the size and number of capsules taken, so that larger studies of longer duration in RA patients can be done.